Categories for Impact Stories

Lending On Character, Not Credit Scores

by Chris Winters, YES! Magazine Traditionally, support for small businesses comes from organizations like Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, which have long been seen as a way to invest in historically excluded communities. But CDFIs, many of which are federally chartered, are still part of the mainstream banking economy, which means they need to meet…

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Leaders Shifting Institutional Narratives and Practices

These leaders are working toward a more resilient and equitable economy to change institutional inequities. our 19 years of work with social entrepreneurs, funders, and other systems-changers, we know that building and supporting systems that work for more people begins with reimagined narratives around the institutions we uphold — such as business, finance, health, and…

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Leaders Bringing Community-Centered Solutions to the Forefront in the South

These leaders from the Southern U.S. are working toward more inclusive and resilient economies for their communities. And they’re doing this through a variety of creative ways with their own enterprises. the beginning of 2020, we launched Bridge Fellows, a one-time initiative where 8 accomplished leaders from the U.S. South who are tackling the racial wealth…

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The system was built to break black people

But we refuse to be broken. Instead, we build. To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious, is to be in a rage almost all the time. So the first part of the problem is how to control the rage so that it won’t destroy you. Part of the rage is…

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How we deployed $250k of emergency COVID-19 funds in one week (and how you can too).

Step-by-step guidelines and learnings from our experience for funders to quickly allocate emergency funds to community leaders on the frontlines. This Tuesday, Common Future deployed 10% of our operating budget ($250k) to our network in the form of rapid response grants for COVID-19. We’re honored to announce our grantees: Center for Rural Affairs, Commonwealth Kitchen, Cooperacion Santa Ana, Cooperation…

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COVID-19 is pushing our food system to its limits (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a series covering the impact of COVID-19 on the American food system and solutions recommended by local leaders. Read Part I here. “All of this feels like it’s uncovered why our food system is so broken. The worst thing we can do is see all this on the table in the…

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COVID-19 is pushing our food system to its limits (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a series covering the impact of COVID-19 on the American food system and solutions recommended by local leaders. Read Part 2 here. If there’s one thing Ismail Samad wants you to know, it’s that his community is, and has always been, resilient. Samad works for CommonWealth Kitchen (CWK), a nonprofit food development organization based…

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“The Future is Indigenous Women.”

When Vanessa Roanhorse launched her company, Roanhorse Consulting, she soon realized that there were few resources dedicated to supporting Native women, let alone any provided by women who looked like her.  In 2017, the Women’s Economic Forum reached out to Vanessa for help organizing a panel. She took the opportunity to bring together Native women…

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Bridging the Gap for Black Entrepreneurs

Jessica launched The Runway Project with Self-Help Credit Union and enlisted leaders in the Common Future network to support. As a result, the Runway Project has grown into a thriving project in Oakland, California. It demonstrated something Jessica has always known: that the underlying problem is not so much related to the entrepreneurs as it…

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When Residents Control Investment in Neighborhood Businesses

Today, the Boston Ujima Project is one of the best-known examples of democratizing control of capital in the United States. Ujima has created an impact investing fund where the community has decision-making power over investments to uplift local, people of color owned enterprises and grow community wealth. The fund is governed by voting members, all…

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